Where Next For Ernesto Valverde: Could the former Barcelona boss be Premier League bound?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 16 January 2020, 13:32

Ernesto Valverde will understandably be disappointed that his Barcelona contract was terminated mid-way through his third season at the Nou Camp.

After all, the Spaniard had delivered back-to-back league titles - with the club top of the table at the time of his departure - while he also lifted the Copa del Rey and Supercopa trophies during his two-and-a-half-year tenure. In total he was defeated only 16 times in 145 games, 97 of which he won.

You can read the reasons behind his departure right here

The stresses and strains of managing the Catalan club have been well documented in the past, most notably by Pep Guardiola who took a sabbatical after leaving before returning to the dugout rejuvenated and ready to roll - he's since bagged another 14 trophies with Bayern Munich and Man City.

Meanwhile, Luis Enrique is now at the helm of the Spanish national team.

But for other former bosses it can pan out rather differently. Frank Rijkaard, for instance, went on to spend a year at Galatasaray then six months at the helm of Saudi Arabia, and has since retired for good.

Valverde is likely to take some time away from management, as was the case between the Villarreal and Olympiakos jobs, and then between Olympiakos and Valencia, during which he had a six-month breather on both occasions. If anyone deserves a rest it's Valverde who since taking up the Valencia post in December 2012 has managed seven successive years on the spin, at three different clubs.

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Ernesto Valverde is without a job for the first time since 2012

So when Valverde does decide to return, where will it be?

Valverde has previously held nine jobs at six different clubs in two different countries with seven of those spells coming in his homeland.

During this time he’s accumulated five league titles, five domestic cups, and finished runner-up in the UEFA Cup final.

Sticking in Spain is probably the most likely option but after managing the country’s elite anything else is likely to seem rather underwhelming. 

Given Valverde’s association with Athletic Bilbao - who he’s managed twice and also overseen the reserve team - should a vacancy occur he’d inevitably be linked. It’s worth noting that the contract of the current incumbent, Gaizka Garitano, expires in June. However, it would be a shock if another deal wasn’t placed on the table given the impressive job he’s done so far.

What about the Premier League?

Valverde was previously considered for the Chelsea job in 2016, prior to the appointment of Antonio Conte, but if he is now eager to become the latest of his countrymen to test himself in the Premier League he may have to be patient. 

There have already been six managerial changes this season and should another occur it’s likely to be down at the wrong end of the table. So should he be keen to secure a ‘top job’ he’ll have to bide his time, although speculation regarding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future is never far from the sidelines and if a vacancy does crop up at Man Utd then Valverde (66/1) would no doubt be interested.

Anywhere else?

What about Italy? AC Milan have been flying through the managers of late and should the current coach - Stefano Pioli - not work out, they could try and tempt Valverde over to Serie A for the first time in his career.

Then of course there’s the lure of the super rich Chinese Super League which is currently home to the likes of Rafa Benitez, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Bruno Genesio. It would be a nice little earner should nothing else be available but you get the feeling Valverde is keen to take on another European big gun.

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